Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Officials Backtrack on Ban

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Officials Backtrack on Ban

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The White House on Sunday tried to tamp down concerns about President Donald Trump's sweeping immigration order in the face of widespread protests, as some Republicans in Congress urged him to proceed with caution in the face of legal pushback. Top congressional Republicans, however, remain largely behind the new president. West Virginia's congressional delegation remained largely silent about the issue Sunday. During a round of Sunday show interviews, Trump's aides stressed that just a small portion of travelers had been affected by the order, which temporarily bars the citizens of seven majority Muslim nations from entering the country. The aides also reversed course and said that citizens of those countries who hold permanent U.S. residency "green cards will not be barred from re-entering the country, as officials had previously said.

"I can't imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it's unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States, insisted Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus. "And that's all this is.

The changes, said White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, are "a small price to pay to keep the nation safe.

But others see the order as ill-conceived and rushed.

The order, which also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria, has sparked widespread protests and denunciations from Democrats and a handful of Republicans. Many have accused the administration of rushing to implement the changes, resulting in panic and confusion at the nation's airports.

"You have an extreme vetting proposal that didn't get the vetting it should have had, said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who urged the new president to "slow down and work with lawmakers on how best to tighten screening for foreigners who enter the United States.

"In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security and reflects the fact that "America's always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants, he said.

The comments came the morning after a federal judge in New York issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from the seven majority Muslim nations subject to Trump's travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.

Of West Virginia's senators and representatives in the House of Delegates, only Rep. Evan Jenkins responded to requests for comment about the changes.

"Keeping our nation safe means taking steps to secure and strengthen our borders, Jenkins said in an email from spokeswoman Rebecca Neal. "We are a nation of immigrants, but that does not mean setting aside our responsibility to screen and vet those coming to our shores. …

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